It is hard to be an independent network, that is, one that doesn't have a big media empire behind it. It is especially true for single nets looking for a spot on the channel line-up of a big cable provider. No leverage, niche ratings, and the need to get noticed. For larger networks, and companies with multiple nets to offer, a hit show or two can help one network to propel its smaller sister networks along.
With AMC Networks, the appeal has been great shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead; but, for its siblings, IFC, WE, Sundance, the terms of the deal always seem to tie around AMC. And yet fights do happen. The most recent, with Dish Network, was only settled and the networks restored to the line-up, because of Voom litigation. But the fight with other cable providers continues. And now that AMC Networks has spun itself off from its former parent, Cablevision, offers of carriage on Long Island is harder to accomplishment.
And many have speculated before that one day the AMC Networks would be sold. That they actually spun off into a separate company was considered to be a first steps to maximize the value for eventual sale. With the fight for renewals only getting more and more acrimonious and the concern that another hit show might not be in the makings, the timing might now be right. "Comcast Corp., News
Corp. and CBS Corp. are likely buyers due to AMC’s record of
developing hit shows, BTIG LLC said." And as some have speculated, the timing may be right.